Atlanta mayor not following Deal’s lead. Opposes Opportunity School District.

October 26, 2016 – Atlanta – Gov. Nathan Deal leads Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Anthem company leaders from his office to make the announcement. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Mayor Kasim Reed released this statement in opposition of Amendment 1, the Opportunity School District:

“Today, I am announcing my opposition to Amendment 1 on the November 8th ballot, which calls for a constitutional amendment to create a state-controlled school district in Georgia.

I oppose this proposal because I believe it will inevitably result in the diversion of public funds for public schools to private entities, with inadequate oversight, and without accountability to parents. I believe such a change in our state, through the permanent measure of a constitutional amendment, will weaken our public schools and create conditions where they become the last resort for desperate families, rather than a symbol of excellence and source of community pride.

I am a proud graduate of Fulton County schools. My brothers and I attended Utoy Springs Elementary and Westwood High School, now Westlake High. Our success demonstrates what is possible when children have access to strong public institutions. I want the same for all children in the City of Atlanta and across our great state.

Certainly, we must acknowledge that some of our state’s public school systems – including Atlanta Public Schools – face challenges. I understand the frustration among parents and community advocates with the slow pace of change.

I also appreciate the strong desire by proponents of this measure to take action now. But I disagree with the method.

I emphatically believe that the Georgia General Assembly is the right body to make changes to state education and school policy, through the legislative process.

When I served in the General Assembly, I had to make some tough choices, knowing I would need to defend my decisions to voters in my district. By asking voters to decide on a constitutional amendment, responsibility automatically shifts away from the legislators who are elected to address our needs.

A constitutional amendment is the wrong vehicle for reform in an area where so much uncertainty exists. By amending the constitution, the public will be restricted in its future ability to make the many adjustments a program like this will surely need. By creating a new bureaucracy accountable only to the executive branch, parents are disempowered and discouraged from being active and engaged in their local school system.

Ultimately, I cannot support any measure that weakens our public school system in this manner and threatens its future.”

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
BDKMBISH
BDKMBISH

If the Governor knows how to fix failing schools why have so many seen double digit declines in the past 10 years? Where is the support? Where are the Vo-Tech programs to address the needs of non-college material students? Where are the support systems to stabilize the communities surrounding these underperforming schools? WHY hasn't the state offered to relax the regulations on public schools to allow innovation like Charters are offered? Is THAT fiscal responsibility?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

1. Deal has no plan-if he did, he would tell it to his chronically failing state run State Charter Commission School District that was created with the last education amendment. 

2. There will be no academic or financial accountability - the current state run Charter Commission School District hides all hiring, salaries, and vendor payments from the taxpayer. It also does not close its own schools that have been failing for years.

3. There are no failing schools. A teacher conveyed this to me, "I have 5 classes: 2 AP classes, 2 Advanced, and 1 Regular. many in the regular class are failing, 3- 5 in the advanced class, and none in the AP. Am I a terrible teacher only when I teach lower level students? "

Starik
Starik

@AvgGeorgian It's all relative. How many passing AP students can pass the AP exam? How many "advanced" students test at or above grade level?  How are the SAT scores?  A failing school is where students may not fail, but succeed artificially because they don't cause trouble and show up most of the time.

Cheryl Pharr
Cheryl Pharr

there is not a lot of evidence that reid is not a devil himself. this must benefit him more than backing deal somehow.

Caroline Reid Crow
Caroline Reid Crow

Cheryl Pharr He isn't my mayor. He didn't write this legislation. And he is on the right side on this issue.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

His Dishonor is taking this path for two reasons: (1) to curry favor with APS and (2) to stop dilution of black political control in Atlanta City.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

Thank you, Mayor Reed, for opposing this attempt to change our public school system into a for-profit charter school system. As both a lawyer and a former state legislator, you can see exactly what this constitutional amendment is trying to do.


I have voted NO on Amendment 1.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@OriginalProf  I am a conservative and dislike the idea of handing over school control from the locally elected school board to the State. But I am ready to hold my nose and vote for the OSD because, if we leave things as they are, there will never be any improvement in the schools.


I have lived in DeKalb for 28 years and have watched the DeKalb Schools deteriorate under the elected school board. My wife taught in DeKalb in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s and saw the rot from the inside; I was relieved when she transferred to another system to complete her career. Now DeKalb is much worse than it was, alongside Atlanta City and Clayton County.


The present school board situation reminds me of Oliver Cromwell’s speech when he dissolved the UK Long Parliament on 20 April 1653. I would like to dismiss the entire school board and start over. We don’t have an Oliver Cromwell but Nathan Deal will do for a start. Here’s what Cromwell said:
“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@BurroughstonBroch @OriginalProf What we HAVEN"T done is give fully, legally required FUNDING to schools in more than a decade.  What we haven't done is work with those teachers and schools who could and would propose some "outside the box thinking" that are needed to tackle the most difficult problems facing these children.


LET'S DO THAT!


And, yes, let's remember that you are trying to solve 24 hours a day/7 days a week/12 months a year of predominately negative life circumstances (as far as educational success) in 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, 36 weeks per year, and these negative life circumstances have usually been going on for multiple years.  It will be slow. No magic potions!

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@Wascatlady @BurroughstonBroch @OriginalProf  Plenty of studies have shown there is no correlation between increased public school spending per student and student performance. We now spend 4 times as much per pupil, adjusted for inflation, as we did in the 1960's yet student performance has not improved. In the 2014-2015 school year, Atlanta Public Schools spent 65.3% more per student than DeKalb yet produced the same miserable performance, despite very similar demographics.

newsphile
newsphile

@BurroughstonBroch @Wascatlady @OriginalProf Much of the increased spending per pupil goes towards meeting all the required regulations - the implementation, evaluation, and reporting.  Let's fully fund public school districts and remove regulations that are removed for for-profit charter schools.  That's the least we should try before selling our schools to the highest bidder.

meropa
meropa

OMG FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WE DO NOT HAVE A TEACHERS' UNION IN GEORGIA. STOP. 

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@meropa  Enough of this falsehood! Both PAGE and GAE are public employee unions in every respect except they cannot strike and they cannot engage in collective bargaining. In fact, NEA (GAE's parent organization) freely admits they are unions.


sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

Thank you, Mayor Reed. I appreciate you taking a stand against bad and failed policy. 

ManfromMilton
ManfromMilton

So sad, just another example of Black leadership's failure to address the pitiful state of failed school systems that keep minorities in perpetual poverty. 

Ronnie
Ronnie

Thank you Mayor - My sentiments exactly!!

daks_
daks_

Reed to parents: Teachers' unions are more important to me than your kids.